Posted on June 14, 2014

BAWA will announce its long-term vision for all traditional Bali communities to become animal sanctuaries through grassroots and child education for sustainable improvement in animal welfare.

The vision will be launched at Green School’s Conservation and Sustainability conference at 10am in the Grad Tent tomorrow, Sunday, 15 June.

Under a pilot program with partner the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), BAWA is driving change in Gianyar regency banjars (traditional communities) and laying the foundations for Bali Communities as Animal Sanctuaries.

“We are seeing very positive outcomes,” said BAWA Founder Janice Girardi. “Animals In our initial target banjars are healthier and villagers are taking much more responsibility for their care.

“Unwanted litters of puppies and kittens are no longer thrown away, dogs are being sterilised and treated for disease and some villagers are rescuing and then caring for street dogs in need.

“Overall, the program based on Participate, Learn, Act (PLA) has elevated the status of the much misunderstood and highly significant Bali street dog and protected it, in those banjars, from the many threats to its survival.”

Over two years, BAWA and IFAW have worked in 16 of Bali’s total 5,079 (at March 2013) banjars.

“It’s a small beginning,” said Girardi, “but the outstanding results have given us the inspiration to plan for growth.

“BAWA’s work in communities and Bali schools is showing that participatory education of youth and at grassroots level is the key to driving real change.  Communities are identifying their own challenges with animal welfare, forming solutions and acting for change.

“Children take their messages and practices home and influence their communities. Mind-sets begin to change and eventually we see villagers become so proud of their healthy animals … it’s amazing.” In Gianyar communities, villagers have initiated dog contests and they have independently formed the first club to support the indigenous Bali dog.

“Those are very heartening results and have given us the vision to expand our education program, eventually into all Bali communities,” said Girardi. “Of course the vision  won’t be realised in my lifetime, but imagine an island on which every village is a sanctuary for animals and where humane population control  plus other principles of animal welfare mean that no animal is without care and protection.”

In 2013 BAWA educated more than 28,000 students in Bali schools on the importance of animal welfare.

Dr Jane Goodall, DBE, Founder of the Jane Goodall Institute and UN Messenger of Peace, is special guest at the Green School weekend of Conservation and Sustainability on June 14 and 15.

Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots youth-led education program is active in 130 countries.